3 May 2016

A post-Pascha post

After over a month, almost two of being absent here, you'd think I'd be bubbling over with news and goings-on.  The only real thing I feel like sharing is just how tired I am!  These past weeks have been just beautiful, and draining, and lovely and hard.  And now, descending slowly down to earth from heaven, if you will, I am struck by how spent I am.

In fact, the only ambition I have is to make a good hearty pot of bone broth soup.  That's what my body needs, I think.  And curl up with a good book, perhaps outside in the sun.  :)  I doubt very much any of that will happen, except the soup, but it's nice to dream!  I am so thankful for the sunshine.  It just perks my mood right up!  In fact, on this second day of May, I am thankful for many things...

- for Skype, WhatsApp, and connecting to far away sisters

- for birdsong, and the muted chirping going on just before dawn

- for seeing a 5-year old so excited to paint something

- for kindred spirits, dear friends, and good company

- for feast days

- for quieter and often cuddly moments with a certain 2 year old darling

- for baby coos, smiles and peekaboo laughing (and those kissable cheeks!)

- for the warm sunshine on my back, my shoulders and my hands... especially after a seemingly long winter

- for the joy of running after little children outside

- for planning gardens, plants, and just anything green sprouting!

- for deep conversations in the car with a seven-year old on route to wherever

- for painting.  Oh how I've missed painting.  I could shout with the sheer joy of picking up a paintbrush!

- for reading together in the evenings before bed

I wish you many such thankful moments!  Christ is risen!

23 March 2016

Yarn Along

Plugging away on a sweater... and Simplicity Parenting.  I find it a very helpful reminder to slow things down.  It's definitely been akin to taking the temperature of your family to make sure you're not sick.  :)  

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.

7 March 2016

Just before Lent

We've had the mildest winter I can remember so far.  This week it's supposed to get into the teens!  (For my American friends, that's in the 50s F.)  We've had sporadic skating adventures here and there, but they haven't been as often as we'd have liked.  That's partly because I wasn't up for skating until mid to late January, and after that because of the periodic thaws we've had.  

That being said, I have to say that skating at night is fun!  It's something I don't remember doing when I was growing up.  I think I prefer the day, just because of the warmth factor of the sun (brrr!), but I'm glad we got to go at night too.

More shots of the little ones here.  :)  Little M is growing.  Cheeks and all.  Our baby is almost 4 months now!  She's easily the best sleeper I've had.  Of course, they change at the drop of a hat, so I'm not really holding my breath.  We shall take things as they come.  My new motto!  (And it took 4 kids for me to be ok with that!)  

We had a snow day (the first this year) and we got to enjoy our day together without rushing.  That is a gift to me.  More and more, I find I can't do rush.  I get anxious inside, I get panicked and that's usually when I start yelling or snapping.  And even if I'm not shouting, I certainly am not enjoying the moment.  I miss out on a lot in retrospect.  M will come to me trying to share a cool fact he's learned, or J will want to have a conversation to process something new, and I'm basically not there for them.  So you can imagine how much this mama enjoys leisurely days with her brood!    

Lent is almost here.  One week left to go.  The Great fast.  My kids are actually very excited to fast.  Their schoolmates are almost finished Lent, but they are raring to go.  I can't say I am excited for the Fast, but I have to say I am looking towards it with a sort of relief.  Perhaps eagerness too.  It is a journey of intentional reflection, of inner quiet, of sober undertaking.  And so, I will most likely be absent here in large part. 

Until we meet again, I wish you a wonderful spring!   

19 February 2016

A much belated update

S washing dishes
My, how I've neglected this space!  Time just seems to fly by and priorities shuffle around accordingly.  Which is to say that I haven't been here because I haven't had the time, nor found it incombent to make the time.  :)

S with the sandpaper letters

There has been just too much going on.  I am simultaneously reading three or four different books.  Simplicity Parenting, Siblings Without Rivalry, and Square Foot Gardening.  I have three crocheting projects that are just missing ears, and I have a cape pinned up and ready to sew.  Schooling has been the main reason though why I haven't been here.  The kids have quite a bit of homework on a given day, and when they don't (or when they're done) I don't want to waste the precious time I have with them.

The two older ones and I went skating this past Monday outside at Celebration Square.  Oh how fun it was!  I have forgotten the joys of skating.  And those two were just priceless.  My phone is full of photos from our morning skate.  In the end, I had to drag M off home.  He just didn't want to leave.  And boy, you could tell how much he loved it!  Trying to speed skate around the rink and falling every so often when he lost balance.  I can't say how often I laughed gleefully for the pure joy of watching those two learn such a fun sport!  We are planning a repeat for today while the cold weather lasts.

Last weekend we managed to get to our favourite retreat - Dormition monastery.  Such good timing.  And how we've missed it.  Whenever we get back, we notice how we feel more uplifted and how the kids have sort of re-calibrated, if you will.  It's beautiful.

S and J scrubbing potatoes
S colour matching while J sorts beans
These days, it's S keeping me busy during school hours.  She is motoring along with her "work" and I am following her lead as best I can.  I wish I knew what I know now earlier so the other two could have enjoyed similar activities and attention from mama.  I am doing my best to make up for it though.  J loves working in the kitchen, and it's not hard to get M in there either.  All is not lost.  The other day, we took a much-needed break at home to recuperate and recharge together.  While not perfect by any stretch, I found the day to be very profitable on so many levels.  And that just makes my heart sing.  :)

Little J turned 5 early this month.  She loved all her gifts, and they were all very hands-on, which is where this little one is right now.  She loves to make things and play dress up.  She has gotten a lot of use from her new "bead box" and has been very generous sharing with M and S.  There has been a lot of bracelet and necklace making going on.  

And baby M was baptized on the 31st of Jan.  (Two more reasons I haven't been around, incidentally!)  Speaking of baby, she is a doll.  Laughing away whenever someone takes the time to notice and talk to her.  She talks right back to us too!  This is actually a sore point, because I so often have little time to give her, and I feel so guilty!  It's no wonder I try to make up for it while I'm waiting in line at the store!  Those old ladies must think I'm a new mama the way I go on with her.  :)  C'est la vie, je crois.

J sorting the items in our nature box

Right now, we are turning our attention to plants.  Tomatoes in particular.  And cucumbers.  Some seeds need to be started soon and I am unprepared on so many levels.  But, here we go again.  Diving into another growing season with our sleeves pulled up and ready to get dirty.

M and J completing their Montessori sun together while S looks on

M experimenting with mixing colours

Another item on my list is organizing this space.  I think I mentioned I was trying to organize the kitchen.  Well, that has spilled over into the entire house.  It's a big job.  Bear with me.  It won't be done this month.  Probably not this spring.  I just have to be realistic with four kids and a full, full, full life with them.  (In trying to find an adjective to describe our lives, I really think "full" is the most successful...)

The cape I must needs finish and my little sewer stitching her little fox purse
Anyhow, excuse me as I have a cape to sew and a poster of the life cycle of a frog to start.  And if I was being honest, I'd have to say that I'll probably have to wait on the poster for next week.  Kids do need to eat, I'm told.  So dinner trumps poster.  But not cape.  Funny how that works, eh?

Wishing you a wonderful and preferably peaceful weekend.

26 January 2016

Wise words

I am trying to organize the kitchen somewhat.  Having a small kitchen forces us to be creative with space and selective with stuff.  It is a challenge, especially when I want so much to create a kid-friendly environment.  We spend a heap of time working in the kitchen, which means it's a great starting point.  And so, here I am.  That's what I'm working on today anyhow.  Tomorrow it's time for  ordering seeds.  (Gotta have those tomato seeds ready to start next month.)  And parent-teacher interviews.

I have also started playing the piano again.  After an 8 year hiatus,  Not pretty, my friends.  But it's so wonderful sitting down again... just wish I had the same enthusiasm back then.  (I hated piano lessons and having to practice everyday!)  Michael has started playing more seriously too, though he usually finishes "practice" time with some choice explorative pounding.  So we take turns tinkering.  And learning together.

This picture above is one of my favourites.  The older three sitting in front of the oven waiting for their cheese sandwiches to finish melting.  A little pre-bedtime snack.  It was hilarious to see all three noses literally up against the oven door.  (And in the time it took me to grab the camera, some of them became unglued.  Naturally.)

I am noticing that with four young children, it is tricky to give each child some one-on-one time with mama or papa.  S gets the most because she is with me during the day while the older two are in school.  I love that she follows me literally everywhere around the house with her little lamb and bunny.  And often a sippy cup.  And while I sit and scrub toilets, she sings twinkle-twinkle little star.  Of course, she has her own work to do while I putter around the kitchen.  Pouring things, making smoothies for everyone from the overripe bananas, and playing with Romanos.  I really try to make her a part of what I'm doing so I don't feel the need so much plunk her in front of a film.  Some days it's easier, and others are harder.  We take one day at a time as much as we can.  I'm always thankful for those good days.  They remind me how much fun it is to have little ones!

How I wish for more time like that again with each of my babies.  They aren't kidding when those older ladies (or gentleman) pass you and remark how fast time passes and to enjoy the present day (even moment!) with your kids.  Yep.  Sage advice.

18 January 2016

Quickie update

On Friday we got our new budgie, Romanos.  He's an English Budgie and the kids named him.  I must say it is a fitting name - he chirps quite melodiously!  :)  Thankfully he is hand-raised, so he's quite used to be handled.  I say thankfully because my older three do not leave him alone for a moment when they are awake.  (Sometimes mama has to intervene for birdie's sake!)  But he really is a good bird, very tolerant and relaxed, despite being manhandled by 3 well-meaning children.  And they love when he eats from their hands.  While I'm told he will eat anything, we've found he prefers apples and broccoli.  So far.  

D started a new contract in the new year and it's keeping him quite busy.  Otherwise, life is the same.  Except on Mondays when there is skating.  Then, there is somewhat of a scrambling to get home, eat, read a story, work on a math problem, build some Lego, and then get out to skating.    It's not terribly crazy, but it's different from our usual routine.  My crockpot is a great friend for days like these.  A nice roast, a whole chicken, chicken soup.  Bonus, I can leave the house while it's cooking to do errands.  I think everyone should have a crockpot!  :)  

By the way, the kids love skating.  First, J thought she'd be skating circles around the rink.  She was disappointed the first lesson was all about getting up after falling.  M remembered from last year's skating episode.  And he actually was able to walk/skate a bit on the ice.  With plenty of tumbles mind you.  And we love watching our babies.  Our babies that are not quite so little anymore.   

8 January 2016

Quieter pursuits

Things have been a little quieter on the home front this past week as the kids started school.  Its always a little confusing for me.  Just as we finally get into a rhythm that feels good we have to up and change again.  More than that, I have mixed feeling about them starting school again.  On the one hand, I miss them and I miss all things we could be doing together - that we should be doing together!  On the other hand, I am thankful for a quieter and tidier space.  (I'd trade the latter for the former any day mind you.)

To calm my confused and somewhat low spirits, I have picked up my crochet hook and knitting needles.  Nothing like yarn to match a contemplative mood - and it really does bring me to my happy place!  That there above is going to be another hooded cowl.  Haven't decided between rabbit or wolf or perhaps another cat?  Speaking of wolf, there is a wolf hat I have in my unfinished project bag waiting for me to get to it.  Maybe I'll make this one a wolf too and we'll have a pack?  (Oh the possibilities!)  Also, when you're feeling off, chocolate cake can't hurt.  A sour cream chocolate bundt cake.  Preferably drizzled in a delicious chocolatey ganache.  

This is my 3rd in action.  (She is literally my Montessori poster baby... thrives on routines that one does.)  She is cutting up a banana for her morning snack.  I ended up eating it for her since she preferred to munch on carrot sticks and broccoli trees.  We're flexible like that.  :)

 I finished (I think?) a watercolour robin yesterday.  The kids all did watercolours alongside mama.  They are all marked as gifts.  I will ask them if I can share their work here for the next post.  I'm going to frame theirs either way.  I was so happy to break out the paints.  An impromptu art session.  I miss art.  

Here's to more art in 2016!